Jun 27, 2011 11:45am
Saratoga 6 - 27 - 85
It's almost 500 miles from Akron (home of the soapbox derby) to Saratoga Springs. But, w/a day off in between, I'm sure it was a relief, b/c I'm sure folks were getting crispy. Coffee or a quarter tab? Ah, the rough decisions back then. SPAC is one of the most beautiful venues in the Northeast. Here's a good overhead shot,http://tinyurl.com/6bmv9xz
GD played there 4 times in the '80's. But not after '88. (Damn those touch heads!) This a unique show in terms of breaking patterns, in song placement and songs that actually work that usually don't. Don't be lazy heading for the gates. This show begins immediately with the goods. No, average first set, but one of the better of the '80's.
Little Red Rooster
"We don't wantcha falling on somebody else. You do it yourself, what you want, man." ->
Hell In A Bucket->
Don't Ease Me
When M.H. begins, you know we are in for a real good time together (LR). A song I do not like the GD playing. Even in Pig's day. Rio Nido '67 w/ its sixty thousand minutes doesn't do a thing for me. Pig is actually worse then Bobby. At least Bobby kept it short. But, I am dead wrong on this one. Hey, there's Phil out of the gate! Bobby and Brent's vocals are spot on, especially when the begin the call and response section of the tune. Everybody sounds great. Healy dialed them in from the get go. What an opening! Top that Garcia!
He does w/ a lively Bertha, again right from the first notes. If you aren't moving now, check your pulse. Jerry's solo is just ducky, and the unsung hero again is there, and that would be Brent. The most consistent player so far this tour. Garcia blows (hi ducats) the intro post jam vocals (Healy, is the mike on?) so it's a bit odd hearing Bobby on lead vocals for a spot. They have my full attention and some of that crazy '85 energy is beginning to seep into the SPAC.
LRR is not a tune I listen to, except live. It's not bad live, unless it's a plodder. This one isn't. In fact it's pleasing. Wow. It's not bad t'all. That doesn't happen often. Brent (again) and Garcia's solo's are the pick.The first of two triplets in the set is mighty fine, thank-you.
"Yo Butch!" I just love that. I was going to go on about how Phil's line in my set list above, represents a plank in the foundation of what is the gestalt of Grateful Deadness. I also love, "There's fifty-thousand people waiting for you back in your seat, man. " Some say that was Pat Kelly. Not our PK. Right?
Jerry segues from Phil & Bobby scolding perfectly into a near perfect Stagger Lee. This version is among the All-Timers. Close eyes. Stop taking notes. Dancing in seat. Jerry's guitar is making me so happy. Brent and Jerry beautifully weaving the jam. Yummy. I could loop this. I think I will.
I like the cowboy tunes and this is my fav. one of them. And Lord alive, El Paso is also near perfect. Listen to all the work Jerry is doing here, Brent as well for a bit. Five for five to begin the show? I'm not complaining today about consecutive Bobby cover tunes.
Onto the second triplet of the set. I really wanted this one to work. I'm sure everyone did. I'll see posts maybe from people who thought it did work. If it did, SPAC would have blasted off into far away, magical places. But, it was not meant to be. Crazy Fingers? What set is this? One of a handful of times they played this in Set One. It is an average version Jerry's vocals are painful. If you listen to the end of Stagger Lee you can hear Fozzie Bear coming in at the end. CF is only saved by the closing jam into an amazing Supplication jam. A great little snippet of GD. Everyone is involved. I love Phil and Jerry in here.
Onto the last song of the triplet, and you want this to work so badly as well. The intro is so tight, but the song does not make it. Garcia's vocals again the main culprit. The audience is excited about something at 1:56 and 2:09 , so maybe I have no clue (don't answer that :-). You can feel the energy being sucked out the the venue and we plod along. Bobby and Brent try and achieve some pretty coloring here and there. Sadly, it was not a high time.
Another song I only listen to live is Bucket, and it's O.K. The clever lyrics aside, it just doesn't do anything for me. Maybe it was all those Bucket-> Sugaree's I heard. I wish he stuck something about horses into the Catherine the Great stanza. However, this one Rocks! and is spot on. About halfway through, the energy is back. Phil is back. Unusual and just exactly perfect song placement by Bobby.
Don't Ease finishes off a well above average set. Jerry's voice is back. Oh, but for CF and HT. 'Reaching for the gold ring down inside. Never could reach It. Just slips away, but I try.'
Feel Like A Stranger->
Eyes Of The World->
Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad->
Women Are Smarter->
Turn On Your Love Light
Johnny B. Goode->
It's All Over Now Baby Blue
So, 40,000 heads (largest crowd at SPAC up to that point, maybe still) waited for Set Two to begin, and they got a Stranger. One of the last times it would be found in the second set. It's excellent (maybe not 10-16-89), and I'm bopping along. Everyone contributing.
Healy, why was Jerry's mike not on for the beginning of Eyes? It spoils what would have been a perfect and unusual transition. This is a fast one, clocking in barely over nine minutes. Brent again. Man on fire! A decent version, quite listenable, though I like my Eyes a bit slower and jazzier. Some vocal flubs and Jerry's guitar just doesn't transport me. But , I don't mind. It keeps the momentum and energy going.
Into GDTRFB? Another curve ball. It's fast, fast, fast. It's like the chipmunks playing. Listen to the beginning vocals. Dancin' in the office! A dollop of that June '85 energy. Garcia's guitar has me now. Wow, this is fast. Double time.
Women R Smarter. Seriously? This is a first set tune. At most a lead-off for the second set. You don't want to hear it here. Last song pre-drums slot is for a biggie, something grand. Actually, it's a really good version, but you can begin to feel the song slowly suck the energy out of the show. This is an example of where Bobby drives me nuts. I would say that he was just breaking patterns, but he did this many more times. At shows I attended.
Drums immediately veers away from WRS, and gets better as it goes along. Decent. Space is O.K. No insects today. I like when Phil? and Bobby? really do sound like chipmunks. At 5:40 what song is Garcia hinting at? 7:20 is Truckin'?
Truckin' is just a bit off. Little things that add up. Weir has trouble singing this through. ( I know, Captain Obvious) At a tad over six minutes long, it's not a good version.
Spoonful is the place the go eschewing any Truckin' jam. Now I like this song, but the energy is deflating quickly. Jerry tries to pick this up, but just like Truckin' it's a bit off. What is that for an ending? Poor.
Black Peter. Here is another song I love, so here will be where they will find it again. Needs be, must be. Lead drums in the beginning? But, it turns out to be a quite agreeable and stops the bleeding.
Lovelight. Did Bobby get high at drums? Not feel well? He is just off. He tries though. Guess who shows up? Jerry, Brent and Phil. They make it nudge out of the average zone. Give me the encores, time to put this to bed.
JBGoode is another song I like only live. This does not dissuade me from that notion. It's short. Actually it's not half bad. Actually it's kinda good.
Second Baby Blue of the tour, as we get a double encore. Much better and together then Alpine Valley.
This is the 5th of 9 shows, marking the halfway point of the 'tour'. I went with the Gems, et al, as a source. Checking Bertha and GDTRFB.http://www.archive.org/details/gd1985-06-27.sbd.gmb.79382.flac16
The margins are thin so I'll post all of them. The AUD at the bottom is good.http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Grateful+Dead%22+AND+date%3A1985-06-27*
Next we go to Chocolate Town, see you tomorrow.